Selecting wine

May 25, 1999

Wine selectionBy MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer

photo: YVETTE MAY / staff photographer

Food and wine do mix - any way you want them to.

"Wine does enhance the taste of food. It's part of the total dining experience," says Judy Cole, culinary arts instructor at James Rumsey Technical Institute in Hedgesville, W.Va.

[cont. from lifestyle]

The long-established concepts of drinking white wine with chicken and seafood and red wine with red meats and pasta are good starting points for the beginning wine consumer, but are not steadfast rules, says Muphen Whitney, communications director for Association of Maryland Wineries.

"You just have to work with your own taste," she says.

Lucille Aellen concurs.

"Today, you drink whatever you want," says Aellen, who co-owns Berrywine Plantation/Linganore Winecellars in Mount Airy, Md., with her husband, Jack.


Different tastes

When trying to determine which wines to serve with which foods, seek balance.

"You don't want to taste the food over the wine or the wine over the food," Aellen says.

As a general rule, serve dry wines with dry foods such as appetizers and entrees and sweet wines with sweet foods, such as desserts, Cole says.

"You want them to marry well," Cole says.

"A good red wine is always good with pasta, any kind of high spices or red meat," Aellen says. Those who don't like dry red wines can substitute them for robust white wines with a meal featuring red meat, she says.

Red wines also are suited for drinking while indulging in cheeses and foods with heavy sauces, Whitney says.

However, she says she likes serving a young, fresh red wine with chicken covered in a wine or heavy cream sauce. And some white wines taste great with grilled steak, Whitney says.

"Red wine is the wave of the future," says Danny Smith, one of the owners of The Anvil Restaurant in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Fruity wines go well with chicken and seafood, Smith says.

Lunch fare such as chicken salad or crab cake sandwiches pairs with sweet wines like zinfandel and chardonnay, Smith says.

White wines are a nice complement to lightly sauced meals, fish, chicken and vegetables, Whitney says.

"It (wine) is a totally agricultural product. It's perfect for vegetarians," she says.

You can serve champagne with most foods, say Cole and Whitney.

Not just for dinner

Wine and fruit go well together, especially in the same glass, Aellen says.

She recommends placing small red, seedless grapes in bags and freezing them. Place eight to 10 frozen grapes in a wine glass and fill it the rest of the way with red or blush wine.

"It makes a beautiful table if you're entertaining," Aellen says.

She says the same thing can be done with chilled peaches, which can be cut into chunks and put in glasses with red wine.

Wines made with fruits such as peaches, plums, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and apples with no flavorings added go well with desserts or fruit, Aellen says.

Dry and medium-dry wines are nice accompaniments to appetizers, Whitney says.

Combination to avoid

Wine does not go well with vinaigrette salad dressings, Whitney says. If you're serving a salad with such a dressing as part of a meal, don't serve wine with that course. Provide bread for people to indulge in after the salad to clear their palate for wine with the next course, she says.

-- Basic categories of wines

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